making steak

I love a good steak. I don’t eat a ton of red meat, but sometimes I crave a steak like whoa.


I have been around the block searching for the perfect cut/brand. I’ve made and have eaten a lot of organic grass-fed steaks prepared in many MANY different ways. I’ve worked with local butcher shops and grocery store meat departments, and I’ve worked with farmers and hunters, all in an effort to find a consistently good, reasonably priced steak—beef, bison, venison, or elk.

My goal has been to find a cut/brand of meat I can return to and always end up with a fork-tender, juicy steak on my plate at the end of the night. You’d be surprised how difficult this is! *feigns fatigue* It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

I am happy to report that I’ve finally stumbled upon a consistently good steak. Please note, this is not an affiliate post. I’m gaining absolutely nothing in mentioning brand names here. This is for sharing purposes only: When you find a good thing, don’t keep it to yourself, right? So here goes.

No Name Steaks. Petite cut.

I know. I know. Your eyebrows are furrowed. Frozen steaks that come in a box? Really?
Really.
Guys, I’m picky. I like my steaks rare/med-rare and it can’t taste old or gamey. I don’t want stringy or mealy meat. I need to be able to cut it with a fork or slice it super thin without having it fall apart. I’ve taken time to arrive at this decision, I’ve cooked and served exclusively No Name steaks for over a year now as I have come to this decision, and I don’t share it lightly. So there you go! They are found in almost every grocery store across the country.

On to the recipe!

The methods for preparing a steak are endless and if you google “steak” you’ll come up with enough reading material to last you the rest of your life. So forgive the addition to the glut, but if you’re looking for a totally basic, perfect-every-time, weekday-steak cooking method, this is it.

Start with a hot skillet.
When cooking meat, cast iron wins every time. Melt one tablespoon clarified butter in the bottom of the pan and coat evenly. You’re going to sear your steak, but you don’t want it sticking to the pan. If you like garlic or onions on your meat, now’s the time to throw some in the pan. They can cook right along with your meat.

Once the pan is hot (medium-high) lay your cuts in the bottom of the pan and let them sear (bubbling and hissing against the pan) for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Then with a tongs, turn and sear the other side. Again, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I like my steak rare/med-rare, which means the inside of the steak is still red and juicy, but hot. This takes about 4 minutes per side. My husband likes his a little more done. about 5 minutes per side. However you like your steak, it’s going to be a personal preference thing and you’ll have to figure out exactly the time it takes, per side, to cook your steak to your liking. You can cut into your cooking steak to examine the color/doneness of the meat while it cooks and determine what works best for you.
And here is a rough guide (from howtocookasteak.com) that will also help.

steakchart

When your meat is cooked to the desired amount of doneness, remove it from the pan, set it on a cutting board and allow it it sit for 5-8 minutes, resting and redistributing the juices. This is the perfect time to sear a few vegetables (in the same pan you just cooked your steak—yay cooking juices!) or cook a soft egg to throw on top of or beside your steak.

Steak is mostly about preference. So experiment, have fun, and enjoy!

coconut-cream sweet potatoes and sausage with spinach pesto

I gave this dish a skeptical eye the first time I made it. It was one of those, “Well, the flavors all work together, technically” situations.  Sweet potatoes, salty meat, cool and refreshing pesto. Match made in . . . I don’t know . . . Candyland?
But you guys. You. Guys.
This tastes so much more amazing than I ever planed.
For real. I need to figure out a better presentation, perhaps. Something molded or towering. Because the pile-on-a-plate just doesn’t do this thing justice.

“What are you calling this?” my husband asked, mowing down his second helping.
“Don’t know,” I said. He nodded.
“Maybe go with something more descriptive than that?”
“Suggestions?”
“Candy.” He said. And he heaped another plate.
And there you go.
Enjoy!

COCONUT-CREAM SWEET POTATOES AND SAUSAGE WITH SPINICH PESTO

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*Note: This is another one of those two-for-one recipes. I’ve linked the pesto recipe here.

2 large sweet potatoes
¼ coconut cream
a dash of salt
1 lb mild Italian sausage
4 tablespoons lemon-balsamic spinach pesto

Scrub 2 sweet potatoes and pierce skin with a sharp knife, allowing them to breathe while baking (so much better than exploding inside your oven). Place potatoes directly on the rack of a 400-degree preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Make sure the burner is lined with foil as the potatoes will drip while baking.

In a flat bottom pan, cook 1 pound of mild Italian sausage until browned and crumbly. Drain and set aside.

Mix up a batch of lemon-balsamic spinach pesto.

When the potatoes are finished baking, allow them to cool, and then slice lengthwise and scoop out the baked interiors into a mixing bowl. Dispose of the peels. Add coconut cream and a dash of salt to the potatoes, and then with a hand mixer, blend until will incorporated and smooth.

Plate up in layers—potatoes on the bottom with Italian sausage spooned generously over top, and finished with the pesto.

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Steak and veggie tossed skillet

So tonight I had one of those end-of-week nights when I scanned the kitchen for something reasonable (“No, we can’t have cereal for dinner. Again.”) to make all of my people for dinner, only to discover I probably should have purchased groceries a few days ago. So as I scanned, I made a wish. This helps sometimes. (I wished for lobster, if we’re being honest. Steamed, served piping hot with drawn butter, and already on my table). But that didn’t happen. Instead, I found some veggies. and they reminded me of a couple tiny but tasty grass-fed steaks I had in the freezer (Yes, grass-fed = veggies in my mind, stick with me), and so I got out my serious dicing knife, chopped for a few minutes, and into a pan everything went!

This is a nice meal if you’re in a rush. 20 minutes and you’re good—the most time consuming part is dicing ALL THE THINGS. But once that’s done, it’s basically a case of toss-it-in-the pan and la-la-la, dinner.
Enjoy!

STEAK AND VEGGIE TOSSED SKILLET

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2 nicely cut small steaks—sliced very thin
2-3 red and/or yellow peppers—sliced
2-3 green and/or yellow summer squash—sliced in rounds
1 container of Chanterelle mushrooms
1-2 cups of fresh spinach
3 Tablespoons peanut Oil
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon diced onion
salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauté or stir-fry pan, heat peanut oil on med-high heat. Add steak, sliced very thin, along with garlic and onions. Toss until coated evenly with oil and cook through, 5-6 minutes. Add peppers, cook for a minute, followed by summer squash, and mushrooms. Add the spinach last and cook until just wilted. Serve hot.